This is a  staff list for Sierra Tucson in Tucson, AZ

(a.k.a. Acadia Healthcare)

(we are working to acquire the complete records for ALL years)

 

We advise current and/or former staff to report any abuses you may have witnessed while working at Sierra Tucson.  For information on your rights and how to take action, visit www.heal-online.org/blowthewhistle.htm.  If you were fired or forced to resign because you opposed any illegal and/or unethical practices at Academy of the Sierra Tucson, you have the right to take action. 

 

If you were harmed (family or survivor) by Sierra Tucson, please contact info@heal-online.org if you remember the long-term employees and from which years.  This will help!   Also, if you recognize any of these staff as having worked at another program, please send in any information about their past or present employment at other facilities and/or cults.

 

Please don’t place your loved one in Sierra Tucson and rescue them if they are there now.

 

Name

Unit/Position

Additional Information
Bill Anderson CEO Formerly worked at MARR and Blue Ridge Mountain Recovery Center in GA.
Jaime Vinck COO Formerly worked for Journey Healing Centers.
Valerie Kading Interim Chief Medical Officer  
Lisa Jane Vargas Marketing  
Sue Menzie Director of Quality Improvement  
Rich Appert Admissions  
Tena Moyer Assoc. Medical Director  
Jerome Lerner Pain Recovery Program Director  
Teresa Jackson Addiction Recovery Program Director  
Bill Reynolds Addiction Recovery Program Assoc. Director  
Samuel Shapiro Addiction Medicine Physician  
Maureen Schwehr Director of Integrative Services  
Erin Hayford Naturopathic Physician  
Antoinette Giedzinska-Simons Behavioral Medicine Director  
Lynn Jonen Psychologist  
Andrew Stropko Psychologist Supervisor  
Susan Stanko Biofeedback Practitioner  
Camille Drachman Associate Clinical Director  
Jim H. Davis, MA Program Department Manager  
Mike Gaziano Family Program Manager  
Carol MacIsaac Family Therapist  
Michelle Madsen Family Therapist  
Michael Simpson Family Therapist  
Ursula Benward Family Therapist  
Scott Frazier Manager, Eating Recovery Services  
Phillip S. Mitchell Spiritual Counselor, Grief Therapist  
Elizabeth Lance Primary Therapist  
Victor P. Gilbert Primary Therapist  
Kimberly Peters DBT Therapist  
Sandra Guilfoyle Primary Therapist  
Jill Sena Primary Therapist  
Rachel Reid Registered Dietitian  
Aisha Jakachira EMDR Therapist  
David Cato Program Manager for Continuing Care & Connect365  
Kimberly Craig Clinical Liaison  
Chris Craig Clinical Liaison  
Blake Master Associate Director of Admissions  
Laura Fetherston Admissions Coordinator  
Dasa Schmidt Admissions Coordinator  
Troy Whaley Admissions Coordinator  
Michele Jewell Admissions Coordinator  
Jodi Arbiter Admissions Coordinator  
Miguel Zevallos Admissions Coordinator  
Tessa de Bar Lead Admissions Coordinator  
Amanda Jablonsky Admissions Coordinator  
*(Sierra Tucson, like many other programs in this industry, keeps a "tight lid" on any specific information regarding their staff, qualifications, and practices.  Please contact us with the names of any staff of which you have firsthand knowledge or experience.  Thank you for your help.)
Sierra Tucson fined over deficiencies in psychiatric care By Stephanie Innes Arizona Daily Star Stephanie Innes Jul 4, 2016 The local rehab center Sierra Tucson has agreed to pay a state fine of $4,000 for failures in caring for its most seriously ill psychiatric patients. In its investigation, the state found that Sierra Tucson had repeat and ongoing deficiencies with the services provided in its acute psychiatric unit. The deficiencies “posed a high potential risk to the health and safety of patients,” a state survey says. The facility holds two state licenses — a medical license for its 15-bed psychiatric unit and a residential facility license for its lower-level, 124-bed residential treatment center. The for-profit center, owned by Tennessee-based behavioral health giant Acadia Healthcare, has paid prior fines to the Arizona Department of Health Services for violating its own policies. It is also the defendant in two pending wrongful death lawsuits involving patients. In agreeing to pay the latest fine, Sierra Tucson’s executive director, William D. Anderson, signed an enforcement agreement with the state, acknowledging that the facility is subject to frequent state monitoring visits and that further violations could result in further action, including losing its license. As of now, the facility is in compliance with all state rules and regulations, Arizona health officials say. In a statement to the Star on Friday, Anderson said the safety and well-being of its residents is Sierra Tucson’s “utmost priority.” Anderson also said his facility has a good working relationship with the Arizona Department of Health Services. “We are very proud of the care we provide and the thousands of lives that we have improved and saved because of the treatment received at Sierra Tucson,” the statement says. “All of our clinicians and staff are committed to our patients and continuously work towards providing higher quality, clinical care in accordance with Arizona Department of Health Services standards.” The latest civil penalty was determined after a state investigation conducted in January. The facility paid the fine May 9, state documents show. Five Sierra Tucson patients have died since 2011, all of them men. Autopsy reports concluded that three of them died of suicide. Autopsies on the other two — a man who died of drug toxicity and another whose body was discovered two weeks after he disappeared from the facility — were inconclusive. The facility helps patients with addictions, mood disorders, chronic pain, eating disorders and trauma through its “Sierra Model” of integrating therapies such as massage, yoga and acupuncture with traditional psychiatry. Sierra Tucson, on 160 acres north of Tucson, has earned a reputation as “rehab to the stars.” The cost to patients starts at more than $1,000 per day. Since not all insurers cover it, many families must pay out of their own pockets. The state’s findings about Sierra Tucson’s care for patients, outlined in its Jan. 6 survey and supporting documents: Advertisement Play Current Time 0:00 / Duration Time 0:00 Remaining Time -0:00 Stream TypeLIVE Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% 00:00 Fullscreen 00:00 Unmute Playback Rate 1 Subtitles subtitles off Captions captions off Chapters Chapters Failed to ensure a patient with multiple medical problems, including a history of head injuries, had a physical examination within 48 hours of admission. This posed a “high risk” that the patient’s medical needs would not be met, the state report says. Failed its own policy on patient rights by threatening a patient with law enforcement if she did not follow a registered nurse’s instructions to be discharged and enter a transport vehicle. Failed to ensure a patient with anorexia nervosa was appropriately discharged from acute psychiatric care to a lower level of care. Failed to complete a medical discharge summary for three patients who left treatment against medical advice. Intake and meals for a severely anorexic patient were not recorded, and Sierra Tucson did not ensure a registered nurse assessed and directed the patient’s care. Did not ensure a registered nurse completed an updated assessment for a patient who was readmitted to Sierra Tucson’s psychiatric unit after transfer to an outside hospital. A patient was discharged and sent to an airport with no money and no identification. Sierra Tucson’s lower-level residential facility was on a provisional license, with stepped-up monitoring by the state, from June 10 through Oct. 31 of 2015 after state officials found it had not been following its own policies on keeping track of patients’ whereabouts. The state could have decided not to license Sierra Tucson at the end of the provisional period. Surveyors from the state ultimately determined there were enough improvements to restore the license. As part of restoring its license in October, Sierra Tucson had to pay the state $35,000 in civil penalties — $27,000 related to an investigation into the Aug. 27, 2015, patient suicide of a 59-year-old California man, plus $7,500 following an investigation into the Jan. 23, 2015, suicide of 55-year-old Richard Lecce, a Pennsylvania man whose family has since sued the facility for wrongful death. Sierra Tucson at the time also agreed to some new rules, including excluding certain patients from admission — those with a current or active diagnosis of schizophrenia; a current or active diagnosis of dementia; five suicide attempts in a lifetime; three attempts in the previous 12 months; or an attempt within 72 hours of the requested admission date. The facility has had to pay other, smaller fines to the state, including $1,000 for transferring Lecce from one of the high-level psychiatric beds to the lower-level residential facility. Lecce had been assigned one-on-one observation by a staff member while in the acute high-level psychiatric unit. When he was transferred to lower-level care, the one-on-one monitoring stopped, though there was no note in his record to discontinue it, a state report says. The other wrongful death lawsuit against Sierra Tucson was filed by the mother of a 20-year-old East Coast man who was at the facility for drug rehabilitation. He was found unresponsive at 8:45 a.m. on April 13, 2014, and died two days later. An autopsy report said he died from drug toxicity and that it was unclear whether the death was intentional or accidental. A 2014 state report into the young man’s death found problems with the facility’s pharmacy services, and found that staff members did not adequately check on his vital signs or follow the facility’s suicide assessment protocol. The state report did not offer any clues as to how the 5-foot-8, 162-pound man acquired a toxic level of drugs in his system while in treatment.  Source: http://tucson.com/news/local/sierra-tucson-fined-over-deficiencies-in-psychiatric-care/article_8a709016-95fc-5245-a7e5-4d015f4d8a93.html
Third Sierra Tucson patient death in 13 months By Stephanie Innes Arizona Daily Star Stephanie Innes Feb 7, 2015 A third patient in 13 months has died while in treatment at the Sierra Tucson center north of Tucson, an autopsy report says. The report from the Pinal County Medical Examiner’s Office released last week says a 55-year-old Pennsylvania man hanged himself with a belt in his room at Sierra Tucson on Jan. 23. According to the report, the man had been on suicide watch and he left a suicide note inside a tote bag next to his bed. Witnesses told investigators that he was discovered in his room, “unconscious but still breathing,” two hours after staff began looking for him, the report says. The suicide is the third patient death at Sierra Tucson since January 2014 and the fourth since August 2011. Autopsies determined two of the patient deaths to be suicides and two as undetermined. The deceased patients, all male, ranged in age from 20 to 71. “We are taking this situation extremely seriously and are reviewing what happened to see if we can make improvements that might enhance the quality of patient care,” Sierra Tucson officials said in a statement emailed by director Philip Herschman. “We are also cooperating with a review by appropriate agencies, which is still in a preliminary stage. Out of respect for the privacy of this patient and his family, we are limited in what else we can say.” patient checked in Jan. 4 The upscale, nationally known Sierra Tucson facility is situated on a 160-acre site at 39580 S. Lago del Oro Parkway along the Pinal/Pima County border. It has 124 beds, plus 15 acute level beds. In the latest case a married father of two, who had checked into Sierra Tucson on Jan. 4 for severe depression and chronic pain due to neuropathy, was found dead in his room at 12:41 p.m. Jan. 23. The report says the man went to his exercise class at Sierra Tucson at 7:30 a.m. but did not show up to two subsequent classes. According to the autopsy report, staff began looking for the man at about 10:30 a.m. “He was on suicide watch and per protocol if the patient misses any classes that he is assigned to, they are supposed to immediately search for the patient,” says the autopsy report, which was signed by medical examiner Dr. John Hu. 911 call When a staff member called 911 at 12:41 p.m., the man was reportedly “unconscious but still breathing.” Staff then began CPR but the Golder Ranch Fire Department arrived and took over and pronounced the patient dead at 1:13 p.m., the report says. The patient’s family does not want the man’s name to be published, Tucson attorney Dev Sethi said. The patient was an engineer and business analyst who had recently been on short-term disability due to chronic pain that left him depressed. He went to Sierra Tucson at the urging of family members. “The circumstances surrounding this death raise many questions,” Sethi said. “The family has requested a meeting with Dr. Herschman and the treatment team to get some answers.” Sponsored By Headlock Muscle Safe ‘Steroid Alternative’ Is Allowing Older Men To Get Ripped Without Going To The Gym Breakthrough product sheds fat and builds muscle fast. See it for yourself! See More The facility has programs to help patients with addictions, mood disorders, chronic pain, eating disorders and trauma through its “Sierra Model” of integrating therapies such as massage, yoga and acupuncture with traditional psychiatry. Most patients are in their late 30s and early 40s. A majority of patients self-pay at a cost of about $1,300 per day. “Like other treatment centers that care for patients with very difficult issues, suicide prevention is a key focus at Sierra Tucson,” the Sierra Tucson statement says. “We are committed to providing quality treatment and the safest care possible.” Prior problems State officials with the Arizona Department of Health Services, which licenses Sierra Tucson, on Thursday declined to comment on the most recent suicide and would not confirm whether they are investigating. The state has reprimanded Sierra Tucson numerous times since 2009 for failing to follow its own policies on patient care: The facility agreed to pay a $250 state fine for failing to follow its policies and procedures in its treatment of a 20-year-old man who died April 15. The 20-year-old East Coast man had been in Sierra Tucson for drug rehabilitation and died of acute drug toxicity. An autopsy said it was unclear whether the lethal drug mix was intentional or accidental and listed the cause of death as undetermined. Sierra Tucson officials in October filed a plan of correction in that case that said the facility had begun a random patient-chart monitoring program. Compliance with its suicide risk assessment and management policy would be monitored on a monthly basis by a random selection of at least 30 charts, the plan said. Staff training sessions on the facility’s suicide-prevention protocol also were conducted in May and June, documents show. Before signing an enforcement in that case, state officials discussed two concerns with Sierra Tucson officials, documents show: practices relating to the assessment of patients’ vital signs; and also concerns about documentation of suicide risk assessment and management. In June the state fined Sierra Tucson $2,000 for violating four rules and regulations related to patient care and safety connected to the Jan. 2, 2014, suicide of a 59-year-old patient. The fine was $500 per violation, and the infractions included not ensuring that a resident’s assessment information is reviewed and updated when additional information is identified. The patient, who had a history of depression and anxiety, hanged himself with a shoelace from a shower head, according to a Pima County autopsy report. He died three days later at Oro Valley Hospital. State records show that on Jan. 1, the patient had told his wife over the phone that he wanted to kill himself, and that she called the facility to tell them. But less than 24 hours later, the woman’s husband was dead. The state’s report found no evidence of documentation in the patient’s medical record that he was reassessed after he told his wife he wanted to kill himself. While Sierra Tucson paid the state fine, it made no admission of wrongdoing. In 2011, Dr. Kenneth Litwack, a 71-year-old Orange County physician with anxiety and depression, disappeared from Sierra Tucson. Two weeks later he was found dead near Sierra Tucson’s stable, about a quarter-mile from the main building, in an area off the facility’s footpaths and trails. His body was so decomposed that an autopsy report could not determine how he died. After Litwack’s death, the state fined Sierra Tucson $9,250 for violations including failing to appropriately allocate staff to supervise patients. The state also placed the facility on a probationary license. Litwack’s family filed a lawsuit against Sierra Tucson in 2012, accusing it of improperly supervising patients. The lawsuit was settled out of court in September. In 2009 Sierra Tucson paid $3,500 to the state related to two incidents involving patients leaving the grounds. One patient with a history of psychosis left without permission, a state investigation said. In the second incident, documents show that a patient with suicidal thoughts, who had threatened to rape another patient, was discharged and left in his private car without documentation that he was safe to leave by himself.  Source: http://tucson.com/news/local/third-sierra-tucson-patient-death-in-months/article_b073f788-4af9-512f-bb37-8692aecb9292.html
Lax care at 'rehab to stars' cost patient his life, lawsuit says By Stephanie Innes Arizona Daily Star Stephanie Innes Dec 14, 2015 Richard Lecce, right, and his son Garrett in 2011, when Garrett graduated from his combat engineering program in the U.S. Army. Lecce family As Richard Lecce’s chronic pain and depression persisted over last year’s holiday season, his wife and two college-age children became desperate to find him help. His family says Lecce, an engineer and business analyst, wanted to get better, too. For a family living in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, in December, Sierra Tucson both fit their needs and looked breathtaking — a residential treatment center in a warm, desert location with views of mountains and resort-style accommodations. It was also one of a handful of facilities that would treat a dual diagnosis of pain and depression. The facility, which tells patients to, “expect a miracle,” was extremely expensive and their health insurance did not cover it. So an aunt who considered Richard like a son cashed in savings certificates to help pay the $64,800 cost they were quoted — $1,800 per day minus a 20 percent “courtesy discount,” plus an extra $4,080 for one-on-one supervision, documents provided by the family show. “We thought we had found the perfect place with Sierra Tucson’s promises,” said Richard’s wife, Lindsey Lecce. But Sierra Tucson’s promises turned out to be not only empty but deadly, the family says in a lawsuit it filed against the facility in Pima County Superior Court. Citing the state’s Consumer Fraud Act, and what the family’s lawyer Dev Sethi calls a recent patient “suicide cluster,” the Lecces say Sierra Tucson misled them into thinking Richard would be safe while in its care. Richard Lecce, 55, died on Jan. 23, nearly three weeks into his stay at Sierra Tucson. He hanged himself with a belt in his room and was found close to death at 12:41 p.m., an autopsy and subsequent state investigation showed. He was pronounced dead at 1:13 p.m. None of the workers at Sierra Tucson noticed, until it was too late, that he’d missed all of his classes and appointments that day, records from the Arizona Department of Health Services show. Seven months after Lecce killed himself, another Sierra Tucson patient, also a man his 50s, died by suicide in his room. Sierra Tucson’s CEO William D. Anderson said last week that since the matter is in litigation, he cannot comment. As of Friday, the private, for-profit facility had filed two motions in the court file — one asking for a change of venue to Pinal County and another asking the court to remove several paragraphs of the lawsuit because they are “redundant, immaterial, impertinent and scandalous and should be stricken.” Among other things, Sierra Tucson says Sethi’s use of the phrase “suicide cluster” is both “scandalous” and “unsupported.” The lawsuit says Lecce’s death is part of a “much larger, ongoing pattern of negligence and conscious disregard of substantial risk of catastrophic harm to a very vulnerable population, their own patients and their families.” Other problems Sierra Tucson, which is owned by Tennessee-based Acadia Healthcare, sits on 160 acres at 39580 S. Lago del Oro Parkway, on the Pinal-Pima County border. The 32-year-old facility has programs to help patients with addictions, mood disorders, chronic pain, eating disorders and trauma through its “Sierra Model” of integrating therapies such as massage, yoga and acupuncture with traditional psychiatry. It holds two licenses — one for its 124 residential beds and another for its 15 acute-care, high-level psychiatric beds. The facility, which has earned a reputation as “rehab for the stars,” has been heavily monitored this year by the Arizona Department of Health Services. The lower-level residential facility was on a provisional license, with stepped-up monitoring by the state, from June 10 through Oct. 31 after state officials found it had not been following its own policies on keeping track of patients’ whereabouts. The state could have decided not to license Sierra Tucson at the end of the provisional period. Surveyors from the state were at the facility all day Oct. 30 and late that day told the Star they’d determined that there were enough improvements to restore the license. As part of restoring its license, Sierra Tucson had to pay the state $35,000 in civil penalties — $27,000 related to an investigation into an Aug. 27 patient suicide, plus $7,500 following an investigation into Lecce’s death. Sierra Tucson has had to pay other, smaller fines to the state for violations, including $1,000 related in part to Lecce’s transfer on Jan. 12 from one of the high-level psychiatric beds to the lower-level residential facility. Lecce had been assigned one-on-one observation by a staff member while in high-level care. When he was transferred to lower-level care the one-on-one monitoring stopped, though there was no note in his record to discontinue it, a state report says. Three suicides since 2011 Advertisement Play Current Time 0:00 / Duration Time 0:00 Remaining Time -0:00 Stream TypeLIVE Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% 00:00 Fullscreen 00:00 Unmute Playback Rate 1 Subtitles subtitles off Captions captions off Chapters Chapters Five Sierra Tucson patients have died since 2011, all of them men, ages 20 to 71. Autopsy reports concluded three of the patients, including Lecce, died of suicide. The lawsuit also cites a sixth patient, who drowned in Sierra Tucson’s swimming pool in 2006. That man’s family sued and the case was settled out of court. An agreement signed by Anderson in October promised changes, including restrictions on who can be admitted to its residential program. It also agreed to keep patients with mood and anxiety disorders in a “ligature-free” environment. The three most recent patient deaths were of middle-aged men who hanged themselves — two with shoelaces and one with a belt. The agreement calls for certain patients to be excluded from admission, including those with a current or active diagnosis of schizophrenia, a current or active diagnosis of dementia, five suicide attempts in a lifetime, three attempts in the previous 12 months or an attempt within 72 hours of the requested admission date. Investigators from the Arizona Department of Health Services found that the most recent patient to commit suicide, a 59-year-old California man, had made two previous suicide attempts, had made a plan to kill himself with a gun while at home, and had an extensive family history of suicide — his aunt and father both killed themselves. Sierra Tucson also agreed to “cautionary admission criteria” for middle-aged men with severe depression and accompanying problems including chronic pain, a family history of suicide and a lack of family or career support. The changes did not happen soon enough for Richard Lecce. “Everything to live for” His family says Lecce flew to Tucson with his eldest child, a 23-year-old son who attends college in Florida and helped his dad settle in at Sierra Tucson, where he checked in on Jan. 4. Lecce had never been in a residential treatment center before but he had been hospitalized in the past for mental health issues. All of that was disclosed to Sierra Tucson, the family says. “We were all hoping that he would find a balance of medications that would work for him, as well as learn new ways of coping with his pain and depression,” said Lindsey, 55, who is a night shift worker for FedEx at Pittsburgh International Airport. “It was very difficult to go through med changes, and we thought it would be calming for him to be in a supervised, managed environment.” State and court documents indicate Richard had a difficult stay at Sierra Tucson. He indicated thoughts of suicide and feelings of “total helplessness,” the civil action says. His family says he was both “sick and vulnerable.” On the day of his death, Lecce did not show up for any of his five scheduled activities and appointments, and records based on interviews with staff members show no one looked for him until it was too late. If patients are 15 minutes late for an activity, staff is supposed to look for them, the facility’s policy says. “Multiple staff interviewed by state regulators confirmed that they were ‘not sure who was responsible’ for taking attendance, reporting absences, and calling for a search,” the lawsuit says. Richard and Lindsey had been married for 28 years. They met on the phone when Richard was a client at American Express Business Travel, where Lindsey worked. “I experienced firsthand the absolute terror Richard felt when he got suicidal thoughts. It scared the hell out of him. He always reached out for help. I think that humans have a very strong urge to live and survive, so to have your brain chemistry so changed that the opposite becomes true is an awful thing,” Lindsey told the Star. “Richard had everything to live for, and wanted to live. I don’t know what happened in his brain the last few hours of his life, other than he must have sunk to such a desperate low that he was unable to reach out, or he felt overlooked by the staff and gave in to those impulses. “I have no doubt that had someone actually seen him and engaged with him and talked to him, he would not have taken his own life.” On a handwritten note accompanying an enforcement agreement to pay the $7,500 fine in connection with Lecce’s death, Sierra Tucson officials said they were signing, “without any admission of violation, wrongdoing, or liability.” Source: http://tucson.com/news/local/lax-care-at-rehab-to-stars-cost-patient-his-life/article_982c29fd-b05b-51d4-9c11-a48c945c1b30.html 
Mother sues Tucson-area rehab center over son’s death By Stephanie Innes Arizona Daily Star Stephanie Innes Apr 15, 2016 Buy Now A Kiva is one of the many places on Sierra Tucson's campus that is used for therapy, Friday June 3, 2005. James S. Wood / Arizona Daily Star 2005 prev next The family of a 20-year-old East Coast man who died of drug toxicity while he was a patient at Sierra Tucson is suing the upscale rehab center. The young man was found unresponsive at 8:45 a.m. on April 13, 2014. He died two days later. His mother filed a lawsuit this week in Pima County Superior Court citing wrongful death. An autopsy report said it was unclear whether the death was intentional or accidental. Officials with Sierra Tucson, which is a for-profit facility north of Tucson, did not respond to a request for comment and a lawyer for the patient’s family did not return a phone call Thursday. Sierra Tucson is owned by Tennessee-based Acadia Healthcare and sits on 160 acres at 39580 S. Lago del Oro Parkway, on the Pinal-Pima County border. It has programs to help patients with addictions, mood disorders, chronic pain, eating disorders and trauma through its “Sierra Model” of integrating therapies such as massage, yoga and acupuncture with traditional psychiatry. Most patients are in their late 30s and early 40s. A majority of patients self-pay at a cost of about $1,300 per day. The legal action says the man’s death is a “direct result” of Sierra Tucson’s failures and that his death has caused, and will forever cause, injury and damage to his mother. The lawsuit does not ask for a specific amount of money but rather, “damages as it deems fair and just with reference to the injuries resulting from the death.” A 2014 state report into the young man’s death found problems with the facility’s pharmacy services, and found that staff members did not adequately check on his vital signs or follow the facility’s suicide assessment protocol. The state report did not describe precisely how the 5-foot, 8-inch, 162-pound man acquired a toxic level of drugs in his system while in treatment. An autopsy report listed a combination of diazepam (Valium), nordiazepam (metabolized diazepam), chlordiazepoxide (Librium) and the muscle relaxant cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) as the cause of death. Late in 2015, another family filed a lawsuit over a patient’s death at Sierra Tucson. Richard Lecce, 55, died on Jan. 23, 2015, nearly three weeks into his stay at Sierra Tucson. He hanged himself with a belt in his room and was found close to death at 12:41 p.m., an autopsy and subsequent state investigation showed. He was pronounced dead at 1:13 p.m. That lawsuit, also filed in Pima County Superior Court, said Lecce’s death was part of a “much larger, ongoing pattern of negligence and conscious disregard of substantial risk of catastrophic harm to a very vulnerable population, their own patients and their families.” Five Sierra Tucson patients have died since 2011, all of them men, who ranged in age from 20 to 71. Autopsy reports concluded three of the patients died of suicide. The lawsuit also cites a sixth patient, who drowned in Sierra Tucson’s swimming pool in 2006. That man’s family sued and the case was settled out of court.  Source: http://tucson.com/news/mother-sues-tucson-area-rehab-center-over-son-s-death/article_e41de060-32f5-528b-88c9-d682aeee4c91.html
ONLINE Review:

"Thank you for your response to my numerous concerns about my brother's treatment at Sierra Tucson. Once again, however, I find your response wholly heartily unacceptable and, frankly - - dismissive. I am writing once again to request a full $17, 000 refund I am also writing to inform you that I plan to make my brothers’ situation @ Sierra Tucson public – I will be contacting any and all local and regional press as well as state and federal regulatory agencies. I will tell my story via YouTube, Radio and all means necessary and will not stop until we are heard and this situation is resolved and satisfied. I will express the pain and stress your misguided intake practices/staff have inflicted on my family. This is much more than a case of a dissatisfied customer and it has become much more than a personal mission to seek some measure of justice for my brother. This is about steering future victims -- yes, victims to stay clear of Sierra Tucson's grossly inadequate care for mild depression and grief therapy, and how you lead victims into your facility by answering questions with a "yes" to everything during the inquiry process and then it all changes once the patients hard earned income has then entered the hands of Sierra Tucson. I am still appalled that after my brother was there for 10 days that no one had a personal knowledge of him….not even his first or last name. He was referred to as the quiet guy with dark hair. Now at this point, within this ten day time period you have already expired close to 10k of his 40k dollars he gave you before he arrived there. You drugged him when we clearly expressed NO DRUGS. I am also outraged that the facility lacked proper air conditioning with the weather reaching 113 degrees over the week. The first and only time my brother felt heard that this treatment was all wrong for him and it is not what he was told he would experience was when I was removing him from your facility. Then and only then did he feel like someone was listening. Even at that time we were informed by two of your staff members that he was being treated with the wrong program and suggested we enter the correct program for his needs and keep him there. To recap, our family spent upwards of $17, 000.00 for a promised level of care at Sierra Tucson which was never delivered and or received. We expected meditation, daily swims at will, generous workout time, massages, one-on-one counseling, access to personal coaches and healthy meals. Not one of the above mentioned items were present within the least bit, including a very dirty unkempt facility (carpets, furniture and in all cases even the intake patients stated to both me and my husband that, “this place was and is a dump”). These are just a few of the main reasons we had my brother leave Sierra Tucson immediately. As we see it most of these promised services had either been canceled or so severely limited as to be inaccessible or available for an additional charge. This is nothing less than false advertising. Moreover, my brother himself attests that he felt deceived about the true nature of the treatment program at Sierra Tucson. He voluntarily agreed to go to Sierra Tucson because of the trust he had in is family who promised him one-on-one care, but quickly learned that ineffective group therapy was the rule. He wanted to take advantage of Sierra Tucson's regimen of “said “physical activity and alternative wellness therapies to address his anxiety, but he was instead prescribed psychotropic medications that merely masked his symptoms. My brother emerged from his thankfully brief stay at Sierra Tucson more anxious than when he went actually arrived. Once again, your response to my complaints about the level of treatment at Sierra Tuscon is entirely unsatisfactory. I reiterate my request for a complete refund, and as I mentioned I will not stop by personal endeavor with reaching every public official, public agencies and the general population about Sierra Tucson's inadequate care and in my opinion deceptive practices."  Source:  https://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/sierra-tucson-broken-promises-c608828.html

ONLINE Review:

"This is a long post, but I think you should read all of it. I spent 5 long days in Sierra Tucson, a rehab facility that also is supposed to treat PTSD and depression. Here are just the highlights: 1. A male patient hung himself to death in the residential lodge. We were offered no support, and at least one patient who knew him left against medical advice. 2. A supposed millionaire was brought into the hospital close to me in my area and surrounded by staff as he yelled and screamed for a phone to call 911 because he felt that he was being kept there against his will. The sheriff took him away. 3. I was promised by an intake rep on the phone, on a recorded line, that Sierra Tucson was NOT a faith-based rehab, and while they do offer the 12-step option, I could simply not partake. This was a lie. Among other things, I was required to participate twice a day in a "check in" which consisted of a prayer to God; if I refused to participate, I would be charged $250 for each incident of not checking in for accountability. 4. When I argued my perspective as an Atheist, the roaming therapist suggested that I open my mind to Christianity, that the word God was not at all a religious word, and that I was not being reasonable, even after I told her that Christianity is a big PTSD trigger for me. 5. That roaming therapist sent out an email to all the staff telling them that I am Atheist, and to permit me to check in without joining the prayer circle. A few hours after her email went out, the staff stopped talking to me, hugging me, touching me, smiling at me, nor making any eye contact. 6. As I drove past the smoking area on my electric scooter, someone there screamed out the words to the gospel song "Glory Glory Glory". Not singing it, but screaming out the words. I called for a roaming therapist, but she never showed up. 7. I drove to my first group class, on the topic of resentment, and the room had God messages and prayers on 3 out of four walls. My core feeling was anger. The staff member leading the group, whom I just told that Christianity is a PTSD trigger for me, told the group to pray for those who resent us. I decided to leave Sierra Tucson; I left the classroom and went to start the process of leaving. 8. I went to the dining room to eat one last meal before driving home, and parked my electric scooter right behind me. I sat alone and ate my lunch while trying not to make noise as I cried. My friends I had made during the 5 days I was there, whom I told I am Atheist and triggered by this place, saw me crying from the very next table, but made no move. When I finished my lunch, I got up and turned around to get back on my scooter. then I saw that the key to my electric scooter was missing. Someone there had stolen the key to my electric scooter while I was less than 3 feet away and crying my eyes out. I began crying like a toddler. The bottom dropped out and I felt like a turd in the swimming pool. I screamed. No patient nor any staff member approached me, helped me, or reacted in any way. There's more to this story, but these facts are only the highlights. I am not giving up, but instead I am now searching for a religion-free place or therapist to help me. Oh yes, and that recorded call included that my stay would be free since I have met my deductible and out of pocket max for the year, but now i have received a bill from Sierra Tucson. i wonder if they can find and listen to that call?"  Source:  https://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/sierra-tucson-broken-promises-c608828.html

 

 Last Updated: July 26th, 2017

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